Varsity Preps

Kosnitzky’s Korner: Champagnat, No Longer Unknown As They Meet Victory Christian In 2A Final

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In a large metropolitan area with an abundance of schools in the larger classifications, smaller schools are often missed.  The Orlando Citrus Bowl will host the top 1A-4A teams in the state finals this week, and the focus in South Florida will be on defending 4A State Champion, Booker T. Washington. However, the 2A Finals will also include the lesser known, Hialeah Champagnat Lions.  


In the high school football world, this Catholic School may have been considered obscure.  However, 2013 has proven to be a special year for the school. After an opening season loss at Eastern Christian Academy in Maryland, the Lions have won all 13 games on their schedule.  The 8-2A Champion has come a long way from last year.  In 2010, the school had their inaugural season.  In 2012, they were the district runner-up and eliminated in the first round.  This year, they won their first playoff game, Region 4-2A and last week prevailed 28-14 over Indian Rocks Christian in the state semifinal despite missing four starters.  


When Champagnat (13-1) meets Lakeland foe, Victory Christian Academy Storm (10-3) on Friday, December 6 at 1:00 p.m., they will enter as a 6 point favorite.  The underdog, Victory Christian is led by Quarterback, Caleb Lewis who has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 28 touchdown passes this season. The team’s leading receiver is Dre Poleon, who had a season high 6 receptions in the team’s state semifinal win over North Florida Christian last week.  Running Back, Kevin Coy supports the Storm’s balanced attack with 1,100 yards rushing on the ground.  


The Lions are led by Quarterback, Cato Nelson who has thrown for over 2,200 yards, along with 31 touchdown passes.  Receiver Darnell Salomon is the team’s leading receiver, averaging 19 yards per catch and 9 touchdowns.  On the ground, Champagnat relies on Michael Frederick with 960 yards rushing this season. Unfortunately, the team’s second leading rusher, Franklin Labady will not play this week due to a broken foot.  One the defensive side, the team counts on Miami recruit, Travonte Valentine to stop the run and lead the pass rush, Kendrick Labady to provide support as an Outside Linebacker who also leads the team with 22 sacks and Calvin Foster who supports the secondary and provides leadership on and off the field.


According to Champagnat’s Defensive Coordinator, Jon Drummond,  “We are very excited for this great opportunity. We have 32 guys who work hard every day and complement each other on the field.” Drummond also stated that the team had several players who were undervalued at other schools and the coach stated he was not concerned about the travel experience in terms of preparation. **** Nonetheless, what we learn from Drummond, is the fact that while we often talk about the larger schools which rich histories, a school like Champagnat reminds you of some of the hidden prospects that 2A has to offer.   Whether the Lions are crowned state champion or not this Friday, in so many ways they have already won!






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